Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Memphis and Germantown) and Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knox) recently filed a bill that would allow people and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to homosexuals - and all they'd have to do to justify this action is say that it's against their religious beliefs.
We've seen this attitude before, and it represents one of the darkest times in our Nation's history. "We don't serve your kind here," said a waiter to students just wanting to have a meal at a local restaurant during this era. Those words have been repeated countless times since then, causing untold pain to those hearing them - simply because they looked differently, acted differently, or believed differently than those uttering them. Sometimes the pain was emotional, but more often than not, the pain was physical.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed this very kind of discrimination, but apparently Senator Kelsey and Rep. Dunn want to take Tennessee back to the days before this law was enacted.
It's time to send a simple message to our State Legislators - we, as Tennesseans across the state in rural, urban, and suburban areas, will not stand for this. We will call it what it is - bigotry. We will stand together to let them know they cannot justify their hatred by invoking religious beliefs. And finally, we will remind them that if their religious beliefs don't lead them to love more people, it's time to re-evaluate those beliefs.
To find out more, read the bill at http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB2566&ga=108.
02/13: Placed on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for 2/18/2014.
02/13: Earlier today, Senator Kelsey withdrew his name from the bill and Senator Mike Bell (R-Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk Counties) became the Senate sponsor.